Let me start by saying, I love Paris, all of France really. Amongst the beautiful architecture and the glamorous fashion houses, Paris is a mecca of culinary delights. Young chefs go to the city of lights from all over the world to hone their craft. Jaded masters of cuisine come to Paris to rediscover why they fell in love with food in the first place.
I go to Paris to feed my soul. Nothing makes me happier than traveling and eating, put the two things together and that’s basically my nirvana. After visiting a country, the best way to transport yourself back there (since none of us have a tele-porter) short of a plane ticket is through their food. Paris is simply one of my favorite places to visit – when I’m home, I rarely get a chance to simply and aimlessly wander around, one my greatest delights in Paris. I have a love affair with Paris, one that makes my heart skip a beat, but more importantly makes me terribly hungry. For this reason, and many more, I’m sure there will be more than one edition of this particular post. Perhaps I’ll break them up by arrondissements or my favorite market eats. So be forewarned, these are just my first three must-eat bites of Parisian fare:
Tucked away beside and behind a crêperie by the same name, you’d never know that this little gem existed. L’Avant Comptoir is disguised by the crêperie facade and overshadowed no doubt by the crowds waiting for a table at its neighbor and big sister brasserie, the Parisian favorite – Le Comptoir. Take a step or two to the right of the crêperie, but not past the restaurant and head back to this cozy spot. A narrow, natural wine and hors d’oeuvres bar (think tapas) with most of its menu hanging from the ceiling.
Did I mention that there’s free bread, butter and cornichons? You can order a glass of wine and nom on those three delectable bites, or order up something special. I ordered a platter of jambon (cured ham), nibbled on the cornichons and ate more than my fair share of bread and Bordier butter. After which, I got myself another glass of the lightest red wine I’ve ever had and the pièce de résistance, the first of my must-eat bites in Paris – the Gaufre, crème d’artichaut et jambon (cured ham over creamed artichokes on a waffle).
Eric Kayser’s Boulangerie
I almost swapped this out for French food markets – because the experience of picking up a pastry in the market is simply delicious, no matter which way you kneed the dough. When it came down to it, I couldn’t not include Eric Kayser – anywhere where locals line up out the door is the place to be. I suggest ordering a pastry of your choice and a whole baguette for yourself. I ordered my baguette and a chausson aux pommes, then meandered across the Seine to the Jardin des Tuileries. By the time I’d crossed the Seine, nothing was left of the chausson aux pommes (apple pastry), except maybe a few flakes of crust.
As for my baguette, the perfectly crusty exterior gave way to the softest center and it was almost too much for my bread loving heart to bear. I ate it by itself – no water, no butter, no cheese – nothing to detract from the fact that this quite possibly is the best baguette EVER. I may have even slept with what was left of my loaf – the crumbs on my sheets the next morning were a satisfying reminder of my culinary tryst.
Pierre Hermé Macarons
Anyone who has ever heard me speak about Paris probably already knows about my macaron love aFare – Pierre Hermé‘s macarons hold a special place in my heart. They say there’s a debate for who makes the best macarons in the city – Ladurée or Pierre Hermé – I say there’s no contest. For what it’s worth, Ladurée has the most beautiful packaging. Pierre Hermé on the other hand has something far more important, the Mogador macaron. Chocolate and passionfruit combined to make the most delectable thing that has ever touched my tastebuds. You’ve heard about food-gasms, well this Pierre Hermé macaron never fails to deliver on that promise for me. They are expensive, but they are totally worth it.
He’s known to some as the Godfather of macarons, he devises flavor combinations that surprise and delight. If a friend is visiting Paris they know what to get me – a box of Pierre Hermé macarons. I fancy myself a macaron connoisseur these days. I’ve tried them in almost every US city I’ve visited looking for something that comes close to my all-time favorite Parisian treat. The closest I’ve found is from a bakery in Chicago called Vanille.
The simplest of ingredient can make the most incredible things – Parisians do simple and complex with equal measure of perfection.
“In 3 Bites” is a collection of my favorite three bites from anywhere I’ve traveled. If you’re planning a trip to any of these destinations, these are the three FOMO inspiring eats that you must-taste, in my humble opinion.